E3: Skyrim

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E3: Skyrim

Skyrim looks like it's going to be worth shouting about.

And lo, a choir of angels did sing, for today was the day I finally got to see Skyrim. My anticipation for the game was monumental, but the demo I saw not only lived up to my admittedly excessive expectations, but also had me itching to grab the controller and play.

If you thought that Skyrim just looked like a prettier Oblivion, you're not too far off the mark. Lead artist Matt Carofano also worked on both Oblivion and its predecessor Morrowind, so naturally the art style of Skyrim is consistent with those games. The extra dose of pretty comes from the Creation engine, the brand new tech under the game's hood.

The demo focused on the mechanics of Skyrim more than the story or setting, pointing out the key ways in which it differs from Elder Scrolls III and IV. One of the most immediately noticeable changes is in how it handles combat. Rather than restrict you to a specific kind of character or class, the game lets you fight however you like simply by choosing what you'd like each hand to do. You can do sword and shield, dual wield two one-handed weapons, hold a magical staff in one hand and an axe in the other, have a spell ready in one and a different spell in the other, or the same spell in both to increase its power - the options are plentiful and easy to swap out at will.

Rune magic also makes its debut. Runes work like a magical trap; lay one on the ground and lure your enemies into it - just be sure they're not immune to whatever you're throwing their way. That giant frostbite spider? Yeah, it's laughing at that frost rune it just ran through. Hope you've got a Plan B.

Skills have, thankfully, also benefited from a revamp, and now every skill you use counts towards your leveling, even if you use it sparingly. There's also a perk tree for every skill, which creates even more options for customization. There's so much choice, in fact, that I almost wonder if Oblivion devotees will fall back on what they know from that game, simply because the bevvy of new options is a bit overwhelming.

The user interface has also gotten a massive overhaul. When you select an item in your inventory, rather than just reading its name and maybe getting some stats about it, you can actually see it. Sometimes, close examination of an item reveals an important secret or piece of information. We came across a piece of treasure in the demo that had the combination needed to open a nearby door. Zooming in on these 3d models is also a convenient way to read one of Skyrim's more than 300 different books.

The map has also been upgraded to be topographical, which can be a handy navigation aid if you're not particularly good with traditional flat maps (like me). We didn't get to see what the map inside a dungeon looks like, but the demo did feature the Clairvoyance spell, which will create a glittering trail pointing toward your next quest event in case you get turned around in one of Skyrim's 150 dungeons.

The part of the demo that I found the most interesting - besides the dragons that kept popping up - was the new shout mechanic. Your character is Dovahkiin - Dragonborn - and can use the shout ability because it's dragon magic. Each shout has three words to it that increase that shout's power. You can find new words on word walls; you can also absorb the souls of dead dragons to learn new shouts. We saw a few different shouts, including Fire Breath, which lets you breath fire as dragons do, and Storm Call, which brings down bolts of lightning.

It wasn't the shouts themselves that I found so interesting - they're functionally not all that different from your other spells, though obviously far more powerful - but rather the way they made your character feel distinct. The main character of the Elder Scrolls games is always some special something or other, but that's reflected in the story, as opposed to your character. There is the hero of the story - the one who's foretold by prophecy, for exmple - and there's the hero that you create by putting in the time to earn the experience and adjust your skills exactly the right way. Though they're the same individual, they don't really feel all that connected. The shouts of Skyrim form a bridge between the customization of your character and the hero that the designers envisioned when they crafted the game. You can mix and match skills and weapons and spells and equipment all day long to get the kind of character that best suits your play style, but the shouts make sure that no matter what, your character still has that connection to the story's hero.

The one aspect of the demo that left me somewhat unsettled was the user interface. It's far less fussy than that of Oblivion, is much cleaner and easier to navigate, but it looks like it was ripped right out of Fallout: New Vegas. It's a little absurd to be bothered by a choice of typeface, but every time an alert popped up to let us know that a stat had improved or that we'd discovered some new location, I was forcibly reminded of Fallout. The lettering looked modern and out of place to me in Skyrim's setting, perhaps because Fallout has such a focus on mechanical and technological things. It seems reasonable to assume that it's the type of thing you'd get used to, though.

Even a lengthy demo would do little more than scratch the surface of a game like Skyrim, so there's still much to be learned.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be out on Xbox 360, PC, and PS3 on November 11.

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See all our coverage directly from the show floor.

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The lettering does seem out of place, but I just love how clean it is.

While I'd like to say something about how I like to research each of my games before I purchase them, gauging opinion and reviews to determine if they're worthwhile, that's not always the case. My sense of pragmatism gets slapped around heavily sometimes, where I'll get a game right away and even if I sense something amiss, simply because of previous merit. In this case, I spent an ungodly amount of time playing Oblivion, so this game gets a free pass. Its sort of like how it doesn't matter what articles spring up about Diablo 3 between now and when it releases, because I'll still be first in line for a copy because of how badly the previous installment ruined my social life and ate away at my free time.

Anyway, All of this is fairly fun to hear about nonetheless. Sounds like they're working on some of the more lacking aspects of Oblivion. I'm interested to see how the Skills, perks and weapon handling pans out. Given this is Oblivion, my character will undoubtedly be some manner of thief, wielding daggers and a bow, with the only uses of magic being to make the sneaking sneakier and the pointy things pointier. Looking forward to how they can make that fun for me.

over 300 books?
YESSSSS!!!!!!

Is it weird that I actually read the books in these games? They are actually great reading material. I was sad fallout didn't have readable books and was scared that Skyrim was going to be the same.

The game looks like a step up from Oblivion, but still a major step back from Morrowind again. The UI seems horrible and I still dislike the leveling system. I have being disappointed with everything from E3 this year. Well, everything from the gaming industry over the last few years TBH. Need to lower my expectations a lot it seems with the current age of gaming.

banksy122:
The game looks like a step up from Oblivion, but still a major step back from Morrowind again. The UI seems horrible and I still dislike the leveling system. I have being disappointed with everything from E3 this year. Well, everything from the gaming industry over the last few years TBH. Need to lower my expectations a lot it seems with the current age of gaming.

A step back from morrowind in terms of UI? Are you mad? It took me at least twenty minutes to figure out how to navigate the menus efficiently. Gold is displayed as part of the inventory instead of being displayed somewhere where you can see it easily, interfacing with looting corpses is a major pain, and the menu stinks of ugly. I love morrowind, but of all the things to point out, the UI is not its advantage.

The leveling system is still the same, just without the selection of what skills you want to level quicker.

i am really existet abaut all the nwes in skyrim i actuelly pre-bout it 2 monhts ago, and i hope that i can pull my self to getter and start reading those books

ultrachicken:

banksy122:
snip

A step back from morrowind in terms of UI? Are you mad? It took me at least twenty minutes to figure out how to navigate the menus efficiently. Gold is displayed as part of the inventory instead of being displayed somewhere where you can see it easily, interfacing with looting corpses is a major pain, and the menu stinks of ugly. I love morrowind, but of all the things to point out, the UI is not its advantage.

The leveling system is still the same, just without the selection of what skills you want to level quicker.

I found the UI the best in Morrowind. Right click and everything is there. How is that hard? :\
The leveling system I mean the constellation thingy and perks. Ugh, just...why?

EDIT: I was also saying generally it was a step back from Morrowind. Not just the UI. I was pointing out I hated the UI in Skryim.

Well, shit.
300 books?
150 dungeons?
Dragons?
Goddammit, there goes ALL the spare time I was going to have in the Christmas holidays.
It looks pretty, the gameplay, and especially the combat look very smooth, and the AI seem to have been drastically improved.
Also, random dragon encounters!

banksy122:

ultrachicken:

banksy122:
snip

A step back from morrowind in terms of UI? Are you mad? It took me at least twenty minutes to figure out how to navigate the menus efficiently. Gold is displayed as part of the inventory instead of being displayed somewhere where you can see it easily, interfacing with looting corpses is a major pain, and the menu stinks of ugly. I love morrowind, but of all the things to point out, the UI is not its advantage.

The leveling system is still the same, just without the selection of what skills you want to level quicker.

I found the UI the best in Morrowind. Right click and everything is there. How is that hard? :\
The leveling system I mean the constellation thingy and perks. Ugh, just...why?

I really don't want to get confrontational any more than I already have tonight, but you may want to adjust your nostalgia filter. We're miles away from a release, with scant details, and you're already hammering on the "Morrowind was better". Its going to be a rough road if we're staring from here, especially when you don't provide much evidence for why. I remember when i first read a guide that told me to level my sneak skill by going where people were sleeping, enabling sneak, pointing my character in the direction of a wall, getting electrical tape, then AFK. There are definitely improvements that can be made here.

Its just really early to start in with this particular brand of nonsense.

Still not excited for this. I'm cautiosly optimistic.
300 books you say? Maybe they will do some actual fucking work instead of copy-pasting most of Morrowind's books like they did in Oblivion.

I'll be honest; from a personal perspective, I'm such an Elder Scrolls fan they could stick "SkYrIM" on a box full of scorpions and I'd probably buy it. >.>

Marudas:

banksy122:

ultrachicken:
A step back from morrowind in terms of UI? Are you mad? It took me at least twenty minutes to figure out how to navigate the menus efficiently. Gold is displayed as part of the inventory instead of being displayed somewhere where you can see it easily, interfacing with looting corpses is a major pain, and the menu stinks of ugly. I love morrowind, but of all the things to point out, the UI is not its advantage.

The leveling system is still the same, just without the selection of what skills you want to level quicker.

I found the UI the best in Morrowind. Right click and everything is there. How is that hard? :\
The leveling system I mean the constellation thingy and perks. Ugh, just...why?

I really don't want to get confrontational any more than I already have tonight, but you may want to adjust your nostalgia filter. We're miles away from a release, with scant details, and you're already hammering on the "Morrowind was better". Its going to be a rough road if we're staring from here, especially when you don't provide much evidence for why. I remember when i first read a guide that told me to level my sneak skill by going where people were sleeping, enabling sneak, pointing my character in the direction of a wall, getting electrical tape, then AFK. There are definitely improvements that can be made here.

Its just really early to start in with this particular brand of nonsense.

I said it seems it is a step back from Morrowind, not, Morrowind is better. What I am saying is bad is how the things looked in the trailer in E3 such as the UI, "perk" system and map, I don't need evidence if what I am saying is purely opinion based. I am not going to compare it to Morrowind at all except for the feel of the game, because that 'feel' isn't Morrowind. That 'feel' is Eldar Scrolls.

banksy122:

ultrachicken:

banksy122:
snip

A step back from morrowind in terms of UI? Are you mad? It took me at least twenty minutes to figure out how to navigate the menus efficiently. Gold is displayed as part of the inventory instead of being displayed somewhere where you can see it easily, interfacing with looting corpses is a major pain, and the menu stinks of ugly. I love morrowind, but of all the things to point out, the UI is not its advantage.

The leveling system is still the same, just without the selection of what skills you want to level quicker.

I found the UI the best in Morrowind. Right click and everything is there. How is that hard? :\
The leveling system I mean the constellation thingy and perks. Ugh, just...why?

EDIT: I was also saying generally it was a step back from Morrowind. Not just the UI. I was pointing out I hated the UI in Skryim.

It's hard because it's all shoved in your face with little regard for ease of separating what is what.

Why is the constellation bad? It's a way of visually representing your advancement through skills, and a stimulating one at that.

If you can point out five ways that Morrowind is superior, I will be impressed. The aesthetics are vastly improved from the brown caked wasteland of Morrowind, the gameplay is more fluid and visceral, the level of detail in past games is still present, and the world filled with enough dungeons to make Torchlight blush remains, though this time with more varied dungeons.

ultrachicken:

banksy122:

ultrachicken:
A step back from morrowind in terms of UI? Are you mad? It took me at least twenty minutes to figure out how to navigate the menus efficiently. Gold is displayed as part of the inventory instead of being displayed somewhere where you can see it easily, interfacing with looting corpses is a major pain, and the menu stinks of ugly. I love morrowind, but of all the things to point out, the UI is not its advantage.

The leveling system is still the same, just without the selection of what skills you want to level quicker.

I found the UI the best in Morrowind. Right click and everything is there. How is that hard? :\
The leveling system I mean the constellation thingy and perks. Ugh, just...why?

EDIT: I was also saying generally it was a step back from Morrowind. Not just the UI. I was pointing out I hated the UI in Skryim.

It's hard because it's all shoved in your face with little regard for ease of separating what is what.

Why is the constellation bad? It's a way of visually representing your advancement through skills, and a stimulating one at that.

If you can point out five ways that Morrowind is superior, I will be impressed. The aesthetics are vastly improved from the brown caked wasteland of Morrowind, the gameplay is more fluid and visceral, the level of detail in past games is still present, and the world filled with enough dungeons to make Torchlight blush remains, though this time with more varied dungeons.

I am not comparing it to Morrowind. You assumed I was. Read my edit on my first post to clarify.
The constellation, to me, seems unnecessary, same with the perk system. I prefered the Leveling system in all the previous Eldar scrolls games. The map, I just prefer Flat maps, I find them easy to read, and the UI just seems clunky. All this is opinion based. I am not saying, this is the way it should be done and any other way is wrong. Just, I don't like it that way. I even stated I need to lower my expectations for the current gaming era. Stating I am wrong in that.

banksy122:

I said it seems it is a step back from Morrowind, not, Morrowind is better. What I am saying is bad is how the things looked in the trailer in E3 such as the UI, "perk" system and map, I don't need evidence if what I am saying is purely opinion based. I am not going to compare it to Morrowind at all except for the feel of the game, because that 'feel' isn't Morrowind. That 'feel' is Eldar Scrolls.

I can see your point, but I think the game needed to move forward. Sure the new UI is much more polished and minimalist, and it sure doesnt look like it would fit into the this game and would've been more suited for a game like Assassins creed. But in the end its still a drop down menu system just with a clear backdrop instead of scroll paper texture.

But aside from that the game still looks and seems like a pure elderscrolls game from a gameplay stand point just improved and updated with the experience they have now. And and thats no step back from Morrowind just a step forward in Elderscrolls.

Wickedaffix:

banksy122:

I said it seems it is a step back from Morrowind, not, Morrowind is better. What I am saying is bad is how the things looked in the trailer in E3 such as the UI, "perk" system and map, I don't need evidence if what I am saying is purely opinion based. I am not going to compare it to Morrowind at all except for the feel of the game, because that 'feel' isn't Morrowind. That 'feel' is Eldar Scrolls.

I can see your point, but I think the game needed to move forward. Sure the new UI is much more polished and minimalist, and it sure doesnt look like it would fit into the this game and would've been more suited for a game like Assassins creed. But in the end its still a drop down menu system just with a clear backdrop instead of scroll paper texture.

But aside from that the game still looks and seems like a pure elderscrolls game from a gameplay stand point just improved and updated with the technology of the now. And and thats no step back from Morrowind just a step forward in Elderscrolls.

I am going to buy the game, and I know I will enjoy it more then I did oblivion (A full 10 hours on that I think>.>). I am just going to have to get used to the UI, map etc. I am just not excited about it.

banksy122:
I found the UI the best in Morrowind. Right click and everything is there.

I liked being able to see everything at once as well. I think Skyrim's inventory looks fine but I'd be disappointed if I couldn't see all of my statistics at once.

I'm looking forward to Skyrim but I hate how they said the art style is going be the same...eugh, Oblivions art style is just so cliche and uninteresting. I mean look at a game like Dragon Age, the graphics aren't good but it still has a consistent and interesting art style. I preferred Morrowind's art style and designs too much more than Oblivions.

ultrachicken:

If you can point out five ways that Morrowind is superior, I will be impressed.

Spellmaking, enchanting, non-generic setting, great houses, and moddability*. But for all we know Skyrim will have some advantages over Morrowind too - I'm really curious to see how the magic system actually ends up working.

*no terrible voice acting = community can mod more seamlessly.

Wabblefish:
I'm looking forward to Skyrim but I hate how they said the art style is going be the same...eugh, Oblivions art style is just so cliche and uninteresting. I mean look at a game like Dragon Age, the graphics aren't good but it still has a consistent and interesting art style. I preferred Morrowind's art style and designs too much more than Oblivions.

From what I've seen, Skyrim looks pretty distinct from Oblivion. Looks a lot more like Bloodmoon.

banksy122:
The game looks like a step up from Oblivion, but still a major step back from Morrowind again. The UI seems horrible and I still dislike the leveling system. I have being disappointed with everything from E3 this year. Well, everything from the gaming industry over the last few years TBH. Need to lower my expectations a lot it seems with the current age of gaming.

if you don't like a levelling system, then maybe you're not looking for the right game. this is an RPG after all.

OT: quite exciting, i'm hoping we can see another gameplay trailer soon :D

Kahunaburger:

ultrachicken:

If you can point out five ways that Morrowind is superior, I will be impressed.

Spellmaking, enchanting, non-generic setting, great houses, and moddability*. But for all we know Skyrim will have some advantages over Morrowind too - I'm really curious to see how the magic system actually ends up working.

*no terrible voice acting = community can mod more seamlessly.

you forgot dragons in vanilla :D

Just a tiny nitpick, but the whole theme of Morrowind was the question "Is the Nerevarine-prophecy real?". That was no doubt the reason why your Morrowind-character never distinguished itself by getting awesome powers (well, apart from what was granted by the story), simply because the game left it up to the player to decide whatever or not the prophecy was true and the protagonist was the chosen one or if it was merely coincidence, some luck and lots of Humanoid ambition and skill that saw the prophecy throgh.

Either way, Skyrim is shaping up to be quite promising. In fact, I almost get the feeling that Bethesda is trying to make it quite a lot more advanced then anything they've done before. It bodes well.

11/11/11: The day I say goodbye to society to play Skyrim forever in my basement.
Friends, activities, family, food... All meaningless distractions from the glory that is Skyrim.

The demo focused on the mechanics of Skyrim more than the story or setting, pointing out the key ways in which it differs from Elder Scrolls III and IV. One of the most immediately noticeable changes is in how it handles combat. Rather than restrict you to a specific kind of character or class, the game lets you fight however you like simply by choosing what you'd like each hand to do. You can do sword and shield, dual wield two one-handed weapons, hold a magical staff in one hand and an axe in the other, have a spell ready in one and a different spell in the other, or the same spell in both to increase its power - the options are plentiful and easy to swap out at will.

Rune magic also makes its debut. Runes work like a magical trap; lay one on the ground and lure your enemies into it - just be sure they're not immune to whatever you're throwing their way. That giant frostbite spider? Yeah, it's laughing at that frost rune it just ran through. Hope you've got a Plan B.

Skills have, thankfully, also benefited from a revamp, and now every skill you use counts towards your leveling, even if you use it sparingly. There's also a perk tree for every skill, which creates even more options for customization. There's so much choice, in fact, that I almost wonder if Oblivion devotees will fall back on what they know from that game, simply because the bevvy of new options is a bit overwhelming.

Unf. Keep talking dirty to me, Skyrim. ♥_♥

Everything about this game sound sexy and awesome. This game is so awesome that every time someone says "Skyrim" a ninja roundhouse kicks a burning shark into space and creates a new galaxy made out of burning sharks.

I agree on the interface, though, but, then again, that's such a minor thing that surely they can change that before release, right?

What IS it about games being released in November this year?!?

EITHER way. I can't wait to get my teeth into a new RPG so I may as well be excited...yay...

Susan Arendt:
E3: Skyrim

The one aspect of the demo that left me somewhat unsettled was the user interface. It's far less fussy than that of Oblivion, is much cleaner and easier to navigate, but it looks like it was ripped right out of Fallout: New Vegas. It's a little absurd to be bothered by a choice of typeface, but every time an alert popped up to let us know that a stat had improved or that we'd discovered some new location, I was forcibly reminded of Fallout. The lettering looked modern and out of place to me in Skyrim's setting, perhaps because Fallout has such a focus on mechanical and technological things. It seems reasonable to assume that it's the type of thing you'd get used to, though.

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If this is the only negative thing that the demo showed, I'm afraid I'm going to cry out of sheer happyness.

Thank you Susan, for making me cry :D

banksy122:

Wickedaffix:

banksy122:

I said it seems it is a step back from Morrowind, not, Morrowind is better. What I am saying is bad is how the things looked in the trailer in E3 such as the UI, "perk" system and map, I don't need evidence if what I am saying is purely opinion based. I am not going to compare it to Morrowind at all except for the feel of the game, because that 'feel' isn't Morrowind. That 'feel' is Eldar Scrolls.

I can see your point, but I think the game needed to move forward. Sure the new UI is much more polished and minimalist, and it sure doesnt look like it would fit into the this game and would've been more suited for a game like Assassins creed. But in the end its still a drop down menu system just with a clear backdrop instead of scroll paper texture.

But aside from that the game still looks and seems like a pure elderscrolls game from a gameplay stand point just improved and updated with the technology of the now. And and thats no step back from Morrowind just a step forward in Elderscrolls.

I am going to buy the game, and I know I will enjoy it more then I did oblivion (A full 10 hours on that I think>.>). I am just going to have to get used to the UI, map etc. I am just not excited about it.

I am not to pleased about the user interface either. Everything looked great and then I saw the font the used for level ups, menus, etc.... Ughh.... I hope the at least change the font. It looks terrible. Its not that big of a thing but at the same time its just that darn easy to change. I just want them to keep Fallout away from the Elder Scrolls. I still cannot understand why all PC RPGs have this console user interface.

Before you flame me, no, I am not saying "WAHHH PC IS BEST CONSOLES SUCK STEALIN ALL MAH GAMES" or whatever, im just saying, I have a fucking keyboard and mouse, let me make the best of them. Why the fuck are you presenting these items to my in this way when I am not playing with a dualshock. Is it really that much fucking work to have a different user interface for PC? I am paying 60 euros for the damn game after all.

But yeah, on the whole, Skyrim is looking good. A dev once said the world is the main character in any RPG and that will certainly be true for this game. And the world is looking nice. But I sure damn hope I can make textures look nicer and set the view distance to far on PC because nothing pisses me off more than seeing a beautiful meadow covered in lush grass and plants, for about 4 meters and then its just flat green. I trust it will look better on PC though, it was the xbox version they were showing.

The dragon shouts and spells are looking AWESOME. As are the undead and the wildlife in general. NPCs look kind of.... Blurry IMO, and I was not to impressed with the way the weapons looked. Ok, let me clarify that. The swords and axes looked SHIT. But yeah, those are my thoughts on Skyrim.

Well done Susan. You have just officaily gotten me hyped for Skyrim. Something I thought myself immune to.

Susan Arendt:

Even a lengthy demo would do little more than scratch the surface of a game like Skyrim, so there's still much to be learned.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be out on Xbox 360, PC, and PS3 on November 11.

Was it stable? Any noticeable drop in frame rate? Was it the X360, PS3 or PC version you got to play?

I can't express how exited I am for this game already, looks like this is going to be my game of the year.

Looks incredible, i can't believe some people are picky enough to complain about the font being used in the menus _

No-one's mentioned how awesome the fights against the dragons looked yet?
If you're fighting an enemy, a dragon might swoop down, pick 'em up, fly back up and throw them away (the ultimate "GTFO"), then land in front of you and volley you with fire. If you have NPCs around you helping you, the mo'fucka can pick them up and mangle them. And on the part where there were two dragons it looked as if buildings will give a great tactical touch to dragon fights.
Give me this game. Like, now. Please.

008Zulu:

Susan Arendt:

Even a lengthy demo would do little more than scratch the surface of a game like Skyrim, so there's still much to be learned.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be out on Xbox 360, PC, and PS3 on November 11.

Was it stable? Any noticeable drop in frame rate? Was it the X360, PS3 or PC version you got to play?

It was actually a hands off demo, but it was the 360 version running. It ran beautifully, but this was also an orchestrated demo, so the chances of embarrassing whoopsies was pretty low.

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